Turkey, Syria earthquake toll rises to 4,000: Top developments today
Over 4,300 people have died in Turkey and Syria in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale. Following the initial earthquake on Monday morning (February 6), the two countries have experienced more than 30 earthquakes over a magnitude of 4.0, and several aftershocks.
The two countries are engaged in frantic rescue and relief measures, aided by more than a dozen countries, including India. Numerous videos shared on social media show the extent of the damage caused — from houses rocking to buildings collapsing — and the subsequent efforts to rescue survivors from the rubble.
According to reports, rescue efforts are being hampered by damages to roads, fuel shortages, and harsh weather conditions.
Turkey, Syria earthquake: Top developments today
Countries send air to Turkey, Syria in aftermath of deadly quakes
Several countries including Greece, Germany, Britain, Japan, Mexico and France have reached out to Turkey and Syria, offering assistance.
At least 13 member countries of the European Union have offered assistance.
The United States is coordinating immediate assistance to NATO-member Turkey, including teams to support search and rescue efforts.
Rescue teams from Russia’s Emergencies Ministry are preparing to fly to Syria. The country’s military deployed in Syria has sent 10 units comprising 300 people to help clear debris and search for survivors.
Several of #Syria’s archaeological sites including a famed citadel in the city of #Aleppo were damaged in a deadly pre-dawn earthquake Monday #Syria_Earthquake https://t.co/VcsaTjJPrp pic.twitter.com/aSZaUv7ZKN
— Arab News (@arabnews) February 6, 2023
In a rare gesture, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved a request for humanitarian aid for Syria. Israel and Syria do not have diplomatic relations and the two countries have fought several wars.
China will give a first tranche of 40 million yuan ($5.9 million) in emergency aid to help Turkey’s relief efforts, according to state broadcaster CCTV. China’s Red Cross will give emergency aid of $200,000 each to Turkey and Syria, it added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing BJP MPs on Tuesday, said India had gone through several natural calamities like earthquakes and would do everything possible to help Turkey and Syria.
“The PM said that we have seen what happened in Gujarat and it took years to build it, so we understand the pain of the people in Turkey and Syria. He said we have already sent a rescue team and they are on their way. If required, we will send more, he added,” a BJP MP said after the meeting.
India dispatches first batch of relief material to Turkey
India Tuesday dispatched the first batch of earthquake relief material, comprising a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) search and rescue team, dog squads, and medical supplies, to Turkey aboard an Indian Air Force aircraft. The shipment consisted of an expert NDRF search and rescue team, including both male and female personnel, highly-skilled dog squads, an array of medical supplies, advanced drilling equipment, and other crucial tools required for the aid efforts.
Members of Parliament in Rajya Sabha, meanwhile, observed a moment of silence during the Budget Session on Tuesday for those who lost their lives in the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar said, “We extend our solidarity with the governments and people of Turkey and Syria.”
Turkey declares 7-day mourning
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared seven days of national mourning during which the Turkish flags will fly at half-mast across the nation and at its diplomatic missions overseas.
Erdogan Monday said the earthquake was the country’s worst disaster since 1939. Referred to as the Erzincan earthquake, the 1939 episode had killed about 33,000 people. Turkey sits on the Anatolian tectonic plate, which borders two major faults — the North Anatolian fault that cuts across the country from west to east, and the East Anatolian fault in the southeast — making it a seismically active zone.
In Syria, ‘hundreds of families’ still trapped under rubble
The head of the Syrian opposition-run civil defence service has said hundreds of families are still trapped under the rubble of destroyed buildings. In an appeal for help, he said “time is running out” to save them.
“Every second means saving lives and we call on all humanitarian organisations to give material aid and respond to this catastrophe urgently,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The earthquake has dealt an additional blow to the people in the country’s north, where air strikes and shelling have already traumatised the population and weakened the foundations of many buildings.
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(With inputs from agencies)